Badals at a press meet in Bathinda Friday. (Express photo by Gurmeet Singh)
The Faridkot administration on Friday denied permission to Shiromani Akali Dal to hold rally against the Congress government scheduled for Sunday in Faridkot, citing law and order issues.
Reacting sharply, SAD patron and former CM Parkash Singh Badal and his son and SAD president Sukhbir Badal dashed to Bathinda to address a press conference in the evening. “It is murder of democracy, like it was emergency when no one was able to gather to have discussions,” Badal said.
Sikh organisations had recently urged the Faridkot administration to deny permission for the SAD rally, which was earlier scheduled to be held at Kotkapura on September 15 but was rescheduled to be held at Faridkot on September 16.
SAD said it had filed a plea in the Punjab and Haryana High Court urging it to quash the order refusing permission to the SAD to hold the rally. The petition is listed for hearing on Saturday, SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said.
In Bathinda, Sukhbir said, “This (denial of permission for the rally) is not an administrative decision but a political decision. The top Congress leadership is afraid. Faridkot rally would have been double (in terms of gathering). Radicals told Captain [Amarinder Singh] that it would be huge insult to them as lakhs of people will gather here [in the rally].”
“This decision has made this clear that radicals are running the government. Whatever they say, government is doing that,” Sukhbir said, accusing the Congress government of pushing Punjab into “same fire which engulfed the State for 15 years”.
“How many rallies will you cancel. You cannot stop anger of people,” Sukhbir said, calling Amarinder Singh “worst chief minister”.
“I cannot sit quite at home. Governments come and go. The issue is much bigger,” said Badal, who had been avoiding public appearances in party rallies after SAD-BJP government was voted out of power last year.
Meanwhile at Faridkot Dana Mandi, where rally was to be organised, security forces were deployed. Congress leader and Faridkot MLA Kiki Dhillon justified the decision of denying permission for this rally “in order to maintain peace”.
SAD started its second phase of pol khol rallies from September 9 and the first of this series was at Abohar, home town of state Congress president Sunil Jakhar.